The nation’s preeminent journalism funder, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, has recognized Voice of OC with a two-year, $75,000 grant as part of a nationwide initiative to bolster a select number of local nonprofit news operations across America.
Knight’s Local Media Initiative aims to help nonprofit news organizations establish long-term sustainability. The initiative comprises various other investments in local news operations, including $5 million in grants to more than 25 local online news organizations that have demonstrated potential for growth and the INNovation Fund, which promotes newsroom innovation.
“This investment is intended to help organizations that have shown promise develop new innovations while adding to the momentum they have already built towards further growth and sustainability,” said Michael Maness, Knight Foundation vice president of journalism and media innovation.
Voice of OC Editor-in-Chief Norberto Santana Jr. described Knight’s commitment as crucial in expanding the work of Voice of OC, providing real-time accountability coverage throughout Orange County about city halls and mega-agencies.
“City hall coverage has been cut back considerably throughout the nation, and it’s corrosive to democracy,” Santana said. “Incidents like the City of Bell corruption scandal and the latest indictments emanating from the California State Senate clearly show why we as citizens must stay forcefully engaged in our local governments.”
Since launching in March 2010, Voice of OC has produced nearly 3,500 investigative articles about local government in Orange County. The nonprofit newsroom has been recognized with numerous local press awards and has established critical partnerships with PBS SoCaL, the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Investigative News Network.
“Knight recognizes that nonprofit news is a critical tool for local communities maintaining important discussions around government that can fuel participation,” Santana said. “This kind of critical grant support will be key in helping us take this model and implementing revenue ideas and technological innovations for sustaining the effort.”
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.